Action 1: Recognize personal barriers


1. Recognize personal barriers to accessing care: Personal cultural, religious and family values that prevent access or limit care need to be recognized and addressed by people with infertility, by patients and by care providers.

Infertility and other forms of reproductive disabilities have wide-ranging social and cultural implications. Work in a number of different countries has underlined the wide variation in social and psychological consequences of infertility due to cultural and religious influences. The stigma attached to the condition and the gradual erosion of support for a woman in an infertile relationship are genuine obstacles in terms of accessing medical care. The situation is compounded by ignorance and misconceptions about basic reproductive facts both on the part of patients as well as nonspecialist and specialist care providers. Religious considerations have also been shown to influence clinical decision-making, particularly with regards to assisted conception and use of donor gametes. Recognition of these issues is a fundamental prerequisite of any health seeking behaviour in this context, and the literature underlines the role of health education and fertility awareness in this context ( Van Balen and Bos, 2009). Consumer education, self-help groups and other mind-body programmes may be helpful in providing support to infertile people (ASRM, 2012d).